ISLAMABAD: The military has revived plans to shift General Headquarters (GHQ) from Rawalpindi to Islamabad, and is ready to kick off construction on the project.
The plan was shelved around October 2008 to 2009, at the instructions of then chief of army staff (COAS) Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, due to financial constraints.
The decision was disclosed by the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) member estate during a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) subcommittee.
An audit report raised two objections with regards to the plan which, according to the audit claim, will cost the CDA over Rs4 billion. The audit report said the CDA had acquired 870 acres in D-11 and E-10 for GHQ at a rate of Rs1, 159 per square yard, but allotted the land to GHQ at a subsidised rate of Rs200 per sq yd.
The report said the subsidised allotment “resulted into loss to the authority amounting to Rs4, 034 million”.
A PAC subcommittee headed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed asked whether work on the site had begun, and in response CDA Member Estate Khushal Khan said: “They have revived the plan and are about to kick off construction activities.”
Committee member Mian Abdul Manan asked why the CDA allotted subsidised land to GHQ and why the authority did not charge the full amount.
Acting CDA Chairman Sheikh Ansar Aziz responded that the prime minister at the time had approved the subsidy, but if the PAC issues directives to charge the full amount, the authority could write to the federal government to pay the CDA the entire sum. The committee subsequently issued directions for the CDA to receive the actual cost of the land and write to the federal government in this regard.
The committee was also informed that the 1960 CDA Ordinance and 1960 Islamabad Land Displaced Person Rehabilitation Policy did not allow for package deals with affected people to acquire land and built up property.
The audit pointed out that the CDA Directorate of Land went into a package deal to acquire land for GHQ, Islamic University in H-10 and for a residential sector in D-12, and allotted the affected villagers double plots. However, when the authority told the committee the land was procured mainly for GHQ, the committee took a lenient stance and settled the audit para accordingly.